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Reb Wins Grade II American Derby

| Churchill Downs Communications | 07/11/2009 #

Ashbrook Farm's Reb made a furious late rally to get up in the final stride to overtake pacesetter No Inflation in the Grade III $300,000 American Derby on Saturday.  The Rusty Arnold-trained son of Stormy Atlantic covered the mile and three sixteenths over firm turf in 1:56.09.

The American Derby gave jockey Julien Leparoux his second stakes win of the afternoon after the French-born rider captured the Grade III Modesty Handicap with Pure Clan two races earlier.

"We don't know how good he is yet," said Leparoux.  "He's still very green.  The first time I rode him at Keeneland, he was green. He won both races by a neck and a nose. He's just learning, so I didn't want him to be in a rush.  I was trying to get him to relax.  Then I was afraid he was going to relax too much, but when Giant Oak started his run, my horse took the bit and gave me a very nice run."

The American Derby was the first stakes win for the homebred Reb, who broke his maiden on Polytrack at Keeneland and followed that score with a tally on turf at Churchill Downs last time out.  He earned $176,400 for Saturday's tally to boost his bankroll to $245,160.

"He ran hard, he just got beat," said No Inflation's jockey Robby Albarado. "We had a nice soft pace on the lead, and just got caught at the wire."

Oil Man was third through the finish but was disqualified and placed fifth for interference in the stretch.  He was followed by Proceed Bee, 3-5 favorite Giant Oak, Dakota Gypsy and Vaquero.

"They started it," said Oil Man's rider Alonso Quinonez before the steward's rendered their decision to take his number down.  "When they pushed against my horse, my horse pushed back.  My horse ran a good race.  I'm not discouraged.  I'm looking forward to riding him back (in the Secretariat.)"   

 
"I got bounced around all the way home," said Eusebio Razo Jr., Giant Oak's rider.  "He's such a big horse that I never got a chance to get it together.  When I made my move at the eighth pole he was running good, but then we got bumped around."

The American Derby serves as a prep for the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes which will be run here on Saturday, Aug. 8 as part of the International Festival of Racing and by virtue of today's result, the top three finishers earned free entry and starting fees in the Secretariat should their connections choose to run back.

Sent off at odds of 5-1, Reb returned $13.20, $6.60 and $7.60 (prices OK).  No Inflation returned $4.60 and $4.60.  Proceed Bee paid $11.40.